Top Ten Insults against Savonarola

Girolamo Savonarola by Fra Bartolomeo, c. 1498, Museo di San Marco, Florence.

‘He is a fruit quite worthy of his diabolical seed.’

Crowdfunding project to restore medieval prayer book closes in on goal

Mary of Guelders prayer book - photo courtesy Radbound University

In less than two weeks a crowdfunding campaign to restore a 600 year old manuscript has already raised three-quarters of €25,000 it is asking for.

Margaret Beaufort, Mother of King Henry VII

Margaret Beaufort

Margaret Beaufort, Mother of King Henry VII By Susan Abernethy Lady Margaret Beaufort was the matriarch of the Tudor dynasty of Kings in England. Her life was greatly influenced by the turning of the Wheel of Fortune. That she managed to survive the vagaries of the War of Roses in England is something at which […]

A Fifteenth-Century Merchant in London and Kent: Thomas Walsingham (d.1457)

Ruins of Scadbury Manor- photo Ian Yarham

In 1424 the London citizen and vintner Thomas Walsingham acquired the manor of Scadbury, then in the parish of Chislehurst in north-west Kent.

Which Of These Foods Were Available In 15th Century England?

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, dining with John I, King of Portugal.

Some of these foods were available when King Richard III was on the throne, others were not. Can you guess what might have been on your shopping list back in 15th century England?

Obscenity Out of the Margins: Mysterious Imagery Within the Cent nouvelles nouvelles, MS Hunter 252

Miniature illustrating tale 30 of the Cent Nouvelles nouvelles (Tale of the three friars).

The blatant portrayal of male genitalia is reminiscent of fourteenth-century marginalia, but here is located front and centre. Unlike marginalia, which was either allegorically related or not related at all to the text, these images are a direct portrayal of events recounted in the tales which they accompany. How can we explain where the inspiration for these images came from and how they fit into the ideas and conventions of the context in which they were created?

Cannonball from Wars of the Roses battle discovered

Battle of Northampton cannonball  - photo courtesy  The Battlefields Trust

A lead ball, believed to be the oldest cannonball ever found in England, has been discovered on the site of the Battle of Northampton.

Scattered voices: Anthonis de Roovere and other reporters of the wedding of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York

Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, here around 1460 as Count of Charolais

Both sources are of great value for those who study the Bruges wedding, with the impact it had on its contemporaries, and the way in which our present-day picture of it came about.

The Isabella Breviary

Moleiro_article1 (2)

Within its pages lie some of the finest illuminations ever painted during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

10 Creepy Things to See at the Louvre That Are Better Than the Mona Lisa

Catherine de Medici - Louvre

If you’re an ancient historian, a medievalist, or early modernist, there are so many other amazing pieces and works of art a the Louvre other than these two tourist staples. Here is my list of cool, creepy, unusual and better than the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris.

Owain Glyndwr and the siege of Coity Castle, 1404-1405

coity castle - photo by Ben Salter / Flickr

The siege of Coity was indeed significant for its length and its importance, and it was indeed historic, because it is the most famous event associated with the castle in the entire 900 years of its existence. Yet we know very little about the siege and the circumstances surrounding it, even though it lasted for a good part of two years

Charlotte of Savoy, Queen of France


Charlotte of Savoy, Queen of France By Susan Abernethy Charlotte of Savoy came from a large family and was married at the tender age of nine under difficult circumstances. Her husband, the Dauphin Louis of France was twenty-eight at the time of the wedding and they would not consummate the marriage until Charlotte was sixteen. […]

Witchcraft Trials In Sweden: With Neighbours Like These, Who Needs Enemies?!

Olaus-Magnus - depiction of a witch 16th c.

Everyone has “that” neighbour on their floor, or street who they’d secretly love to move to Mars and never see again. Well, the Early Modern Swedes had a way of dealing with those kinds of nasty neighbours…

The Impalings of Vlad the Impaler

Impalings of Vlad the Impaler

One of the most infamous chararacters from the Middle Ages was Vlad III Dracula, the prince of Wallachia. Here is the story of how he gained the name of ‘the Impaler’.

Move over Milan! Late Medieval and Renaissance Fashion in Venice

Cesare Vecellio's Venetian fashion

Milan may be Italy’s current fashion capital, but Venice had an important role to play in the development of the Italian fashion and textile industry since the late middle ages and renaissance period.

The Foxes of Venice

Venice in 1565 - Venice, engraving by Hogenberg and Braun from the Civitates Orbis Terrarum

This paper will focus on the process that led to the professionalization of ambassadorial relations and dispatches as a means to display the shift in the Venetian Senate’s political priorities, as it necessitated and enforced a constant and regular influx of foreign knowledge.

How Witches Looked in Medieval Art

Hans Baldung - The Witches Sabbath (1510 AD)

I recently visited the British Museum and enjoyed their Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibit which runs until January 11th, 2015. It displays art depicting witches from the middle ages up to the late nineteenth century. This post looks at a few late medieval interpretations of witches and the artists behind these works.

‘Forget Your People and Your Father’s House’: Teresa de Cartagena and the Converso Identity

Teresa de Cartagena

Religion is a very important factor to take into consideration in discussions about the identity of the conversos [converts] or New Christians, an emerging group in 15th-century Castile.

The Sincere Body: The Performance of Weeping and Emotion in Late Medieval Italian Sermons

The Magdalen Weeping - by Master of the Legend of the Magdalen, dated 1525.

In 1493 the well-known and controversial Franciscan preacher Bernardino of Feltre gave a series of Lenten sermons to the people of Pavia. On March 11 he dedicated an entire sermon to the necessity of contrition—or perfect sorrow over sin—in the rite of confession.

Besteiros Do Conto (Crossbowmen): Organization, abuses of power and irregularities during the reign of Dom João I (1385-1433)

Besteiros Do Conto (Crossbowmen/archers)

The aim of this paper is to examine an aspect of social life linked to one of the most important and original forms of military organization in the whole of Portuguese history—the besteiros do conto (crossbowmen).

Renaissance Contacts Between Dubrovnik (Ragusa) and the Kingdom of Hungary

Coat of Arms of King Louis I of Hungary - a talisman of good luck.

During the rule of the Angevin dynasty (1308-82) in Hungary, towns and cities increasingly assumed greater political influence. The first treaty between the King of Hungary and Dubrovnik (in those days Ragusa) was signed in 1358, during the reign of Louis (Lajos) the Great.

Emperor Zar’a Ya’eqob (1434-68) And The Christianization Of Medieval Ethiopia

Virgin Mary Ethiopia - photo by A. Davey

One of the most important figures in Ethiopian Christianity was the 15th century Emperor Zar’a Ya’eqob.

Skirts and Politics: The Cistercian Monastery of Harvestehude and the Hamburg City Council

Medieval nun with skirt lifted

In 1482, Catharina Arndes lifted up her skirts in front of the archbishop’s chaplain. She was a respectable townswoman from Hamburg, and her action was carried out in defense of the Cistercian monastery of Harvestehude which was close to the city and where several of Catharina’s nieces lived as nuns.

Women do not sit as Judges, or do they? The office of Judge in Vincentius Bellovacensis’ Speculum

Vincent of Beauvais (Vincentius Bellovacensis)

It was Charles Homer Haskins (1870-1936) who coined the expression “Renaissance of the twelfth century”. Before him this expression referred more specifically to the Italian Renaissance of the fifteenth century as nineteenth century Swiss historian Jakob Burckhardt put it.

Feminine Love in the Twelfth Century – A Case Study: The Mulier in the Lost Love Letters and the Work of Female Mystics

Heloise and Abelard - painting created in 1819

This article compares the twelfth-century writings of the secular mulier in the Lost Love Letters with the work of religious female ‘mystics’ to draw comparisons about the way these authors chose to express love.

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